Friday, September 01, 2006
Root, shoot and marry #5 - world leaders
Tony, who has appeared in despatches here several times, is about to swan off once again to Africa to spend some quality time with his wife, his camera, and his next novel.

While partaking of four galloping schooners of VB with Tony in a rl Ladies Lounge on Thursday night, we cooked up a truly brilliant theme for Root, Shoot, Marry this week. Sadly, the execution has proved more difficult in reality than through beer goggles and will take another week - but be assured, there is something special on its way.

Meantime. My fallback position is World Leaders Throughout The Ages. Okay, Okay, it's cheesey but it gets me out of a hole and I am promising you something much more special for next week. Cut me some slack here.

And remember, this week is our first week of breeding pairs. SO: not only do you choose who you would root, who you would shoot, and who you would marry (shag, cliff, marry for certain boozy North Americans), for BONUS POINTS you can also choose your most desirable and least desirable breeding pairs from both the boy and girl lists.

Off you go then: root 'em, shoot 'em, marry 'em and knock 'em up.

1. Franklin D Roosevelt

2. Nelson Mandela

3. George W Bush

1. Queen Elizabeth II (the current one)
2. Catherine the Great (who, if you don't know, rooted most of Russia)
3. Eva Peron, Argentina (perhaps not technically a world leader but I did want to torment you with THAT song in your head)

(blogger is now only eating the girl photos - I'm trying to work out why but in the meantime, play away.)


Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The Tunnel

I thought I'd get away early from work tonight. But instead I ended up here.

Have you ever walked in an underground railway tunnel?

Sorry about the pic - my mobile phone doesn't have a flash, you see.

The surprising thing, for me, was how populated it seemed. There was space to move around away from the tracks. There were doors and cubby holes every few paces.

There was other evidence, of the obscenely inane "Missy sucks your muthas cock" variety. Who goes into a railway tunnel to write this stuff - and who do they think will read it?

And who is Missy?

There was almost no smell, which seemed odd. And when, at the other end, we reached the platform, there was a very serviceable set of ancient looking cast iron steps that we apparently were forbidden, in favour of a very rickety aluminium ladder that three City Rail employees were excitedly gesturing us towards.

But I think I've missed a bit in the story, haven't I?

I spent most of the day at a conference. This was excitement number one as in my job, plus the whole family thing, I almost always always have to say no to any kind of professional development activities. Excitement number two was the subject matter of the conference (don't die of nerddom here) "Blogs, Wikis and RSS".

I have decided that early adoption of technology is the best answer the 21st century has to staying young forever. So, yes, I know what Wikis (and Twikis!) and RSS and many other geeky words mean. Can't spare the time to conquer enough html to add Lazy Cow's book cover list to my template - nooooooo! - but I know enough about the theory of Wikis to look sensible when suggesting we try using one to continually update our strategic and operational plans.

This is not only how you look young. This is how you look smart. But enough of Organisational Comms 101, and back to my Wednesday.

So there was this conference, and it was fun in a geeky, worky kind of way. And along the way my work's Information Services Manager, who paid for me to go, proposed I should have an intranet blog to discuss media issues affecting our organisation.

And I said yes.



How cool will it be to be an OFFICIAL blogger as well as a mostly anonymous, foul-mouthed, slanderous, drinking games, gardening, knitting, cooking blogger?

We start on Friday. I'll tell you more then (with RSM #5, and my garden update, oh and - finally - Suse's Red Tweed knitting sample!!).

I digress.

I was in a tunnel.

But before that, in the final session of the conference, rather pompously titled "Citizen Journalism" (ROOOOOOSEBUUUUUUD), the presentation included those spooky, mobile phone posted pictures of the London Underground after the bombing last year.


So these pics were already in my mind. And I got on the train - refusing a cab ride to the city and changing my journey's direction twice because of shifting arrangements with picking up kids(do you see how many times fate sent me this way?) - and we went two stations underground, and stopped.

Somewhere, in the dark, below Sydney and between Town Hall and Central.

There were a number of incomprehensible announcements over the carriage speakers. The first one everyone ignored. The second one caused some mumblings from stranger to stranger as we started to get irritated about the delay. The third one caused a gentleman behind me to slam his newspaper against the seat and start claiming the guard's voice was deliberately getting softer: "They don't WANT us to know what's happening, that's it!" he said. Some passengers agreed. Me, I tried to block out the London bombing photos and concentrated on my knitting.

The fourth mumbled announcement did, however, clearly include the words "police operation" and "delayed longer than we thought" and "may be some time" and "sorry".

The gentleman behind me wasn't wearing it.

"They say nothing!" he ranted. "It's on purpose!" The lady on the other side of the aisle agreed with him. Others, like me, had heard enough to know something more serious was going on.

Mobile phone reception was sporadic, but I persevered until I got at least text messages through to the Prof and the kids to let them know I would be late to the station.

Thinking of the London photos, I made sure I told them I loved them.

I requested a news alert via my mobile. The top story was about 12 young Iraqis being blown up outside an army recruitment office. I sent my love again to the kids and said I'd be there soon.

I don't scare easy.

But this?

This was starting to freak me out just a tiny bit.

Instead I made sure I dec 1 at the last two stitches then did three rows even, ending on a WS row.

The carriage lights switched to emergency and the air conditioning was turned off.

Police were walking along the tracks on the outside of the carriages.

I repeated the last four rows until the work measured 12 cm from the start of the neck edge. I did two more rows even then inc1 in the last 2 stitches.

A man in an orange jacket walked through our carriage.

He told us to get up and walk to the front of the train. We'd have to walk to the station, it was only about 200 metres away. There'd be people all along the way to show us where to go.

He was right about that.

So I have no reason to doubt

that he was also right

when he told us

we'd killed somebody

who was now under the train

presumably in pieces

and this was why we had stopped.

Is it wrong to have been glad it was only one person who had died?

Because I was, for a bit.

Then, as I trekked on home, changing lines to avoid the crowds from our deserted train, I started to feel more and more as if I needed to throw up.

My head threatened to split in two and spew boiling brains over fellow travellers and when I finally found myself looking across a road at the car full of family that was faithfully waiting to collect me from a strange station, instead of feeling grateful

But I climbed in and I smiled and played "find a green car" and talked about the lovely dinner daddy was about to make and somehow managed until after they were all settled at home. At which time I ran an enormous bubbly bath and disappeared into it for half an hour.

The Prof did indeed make a lovely dinner.

Nobody else died.

I stopped feeling the squish of flesh and bone under my feet.

I checked this blog and found a completely new reader and RSM virgin (Hi Nutmeg, you made my night) and saw that My Float was finally back online after her Cairns junket.

I watched Spicks and Specks and pondered how to frame an entire party around S&S games.

I blogged.

I stupidly watched Finding Neverland on paytv and wept for the four motherless boys and the mother who left them.

I checked my sleeping children again.

And here we are. Safe, home, all in one piece.

Take care, all.